Latvian defense sector in development phase, says expert

The defense industry in Latvia is in a rapidly growing development phase, said Elīna Egle-Ločmele, chair of the Latvian Federation of Security and Defence Industries, on Latvian Television August 25.

“We are at the beginning of a very active period as politicians in Europe and Latvia have decided on increased support for the defense sector. This means more work for industry and scientists,” Egle-Ločmele said. The challenge is to understand what will be needed in Latvia to see how much capacity can be allocated to exports.

The Head of the Federation pointed out that its members, who collectively turn over €750 million and leave €80 million in taxes in Latvia, mainly export to NATO member states.

"As of 2016, Latvian companies have also been actively involved in large development capacity projects. We provide for up to 30% of these projects [..]. In general, we also see a very strong response from both the National Armed Forces, which are testing and involving our products in military training, and also the Ministry of Defense, which in various ways supports export activities," Egle-Ločmele said.

"Our desire in the long run is that the country needs to have more control over certain critical providers. One can determine who the investors are, what the development strategy is. We see that there is one great leader in every country of Western Europe that provides protection capabilities. Latvia has gone another way and we are therefore looking at the areas where the industry is not prepared to invest, where demand from Latvia and the Baltic States is not so high where the country should come in with its funding," Egle-Ločmele said.

Plans have already been reported to set up a state company for the production of ammunition, which the defense industry is looking forward to.

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